Monday, November 14, 2011

Gel Printing

This summer I had the opportunity to take a class in gel printing.  What is that?  I didn't know either. 

The recipe we used included 15 boxes of Knox gelatin which was poured onto a cookie sheet until gelled (see recipe at end of article).  After that it can be used whole or cut into smaller pieces.  Using a brayer, printing ink is rolled onto a smooth surface and then used to ink the gel.  Flat objects are laid on the inked gel in a design and paper is laid on top.  A negative print is made.  Than after taking the objects carefully off the gel, another paper is laid on and rubbed gently.  This is the positive print.

Since our class was held at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine, we went to the herb gardens and gathered leaves, flowers and any other natural and interesting shapes we could find.  It was a lovely day to be outside.

We brought our bounty back to the classroom and the fun really began.  The eight of us went crazy, laying out various designs, using different colors of ink and printing those pictures.  It was interesting to see how differently everyone was thinking when planning their prints.  And the results were AMAZING!  The detail that was picked up on the paper was incredible.  We spent a happy morning creating print after print.

After lunch, we learned about bookmaking.  Using accordian folded paper as the base, we sewed covers on our books and added our best prints.  Some of us used inked stamps to add words or designs to our books.  Each of us made two books....and they were beautiful.

It was a fun and inspiring day and I fully intend to do more printing on my own.

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